Wivenhoe’s conker league was thrown into chaos last week when the town’s oldest horse chestnut tree was destroyed in a wanton act of vandalism by a fictional character from a film that was moderately entertaining first time around, but by the third entry in the series was just too much to take.
We talk, of course, of ‘Old Chesty’ the champion conker providing tree that has stood in the graveyard since time began and the bumbling kung-fu practicing panda bear that’s the star of Kung Fu Panda – separately two seemingly unrelated and uninteresting objects, but stick them together and you have an explosive series of events that lead to the destruction of some tree that no one really cares about and a bear with a sore scrotum.
Wivenhoe Historian Alan Snert explains: “No one really knows how long Old Chesty has stood here, but there’s photographic evidence in the church that Adam and Eve invented the game of conkers under her branches, Winston Churchill was conceived up against her trunk and Roy Castle’s first pair of tap-dancing shoes were made of off-cuts from her bark. To suggest that she’s played an integral part in every significant event in history ever is certainly no understatement.”
Meanwhile, Wivenhoe’s Mayor, Dame Dannii Minogue, has expressed serious concern about the financial implications of the loss, noting: “This could hit the 2018 conker league pretty hard and it’s difficult to see how the Wivenhoe economy is going to turn this one around. As for Rupert the bear’s stupid Japanese cousin, have you any idea how much it costs to remove splinters from a panda’s ball bag?”
Residents have been warned to avoid climbing trees and jumping up and down on them repeatedly until they break and have been advised to use their conkers sparingly in the impending drought.